Bible Study Tips
Compiled and Edited by Gary Amirault
Abraham Lincoln: "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book."
George Washington: "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
(For many other great quotes about the Bible, click here).
The Bible was written by over 40 people over 1600 years, yet it is one book in theme, consistent throughout.
The Bible is the world's most widely distributed book. 2.5 billion copies were distributed between 1815 and 1975.
The Bible was the first book to be printed mechanically (Gutenberg Press, 1451).
There are 6858 languages in the World. Portions of the Bible have been translated in over 1000 languages. There are thousands of languages which do not have even portions of the Bible translated into their language.
The Bible is the most quoted book in the world.
The Bible has contributed to changed lives of countless individuals and nations.
The purpose of the work is to provide some insights from men and women who have spent many years in the greatest book every written. The Bible, for better or for worse, has influenced the Western world more than any other book by far. But not all of its influence was positive. Millions of people around the world lost their lives by being killed by those who called themselves Christians and they supported their killing with the Bible. Queen Mary, the Catholic Queen is said to have said when commanding the deaths of Protestants by fire, "I only do here on earth, what our God will do to them for all eternity." She got this understanding from the Catholic view of what the Bible says will happen to those who are not "true" believers. The Roman Catholic church doctrine to this day is that there is no salvation outside the Catholic church.
There are many Christians, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, etc. who have killed millions of other Christians in "Holy Wars." They supported their actions with verses from the Bible. Millions of men and women were sold into slavery--and again, the slave owners quoted the Bible in support of their position. Anyone who has ever read any Ku Klux Klan literature will be surprised how much Scripture is contained in their writings, King James Version, of course.
I, myself, the compiler and editor of this writing, have found some of the most hateful and evil people I have ever met to be Christians who could quote huge portions of Scripture by memory; the "Authorized Version," of course. And I have found my ability to love people was greatly influenced by the doctrines I was receiving and the kind of denomination in which I was participating.
While I have hundreds of Bible translations, Bible reference works, computer aids, etc. in my office, and have been blessed by the writings and teachings of many fine Christian writers, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is by far the One Who has led me deeper and deeper into the Truth who is not an idea or interpretation--the Truth is a person--a person named Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ.
"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I say that He will take of Mine and declare it to you." (John 16:12-16, NKJV)
"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever --the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, (see John 15:9-14, 13:33-35, 1 John 3:23, 24, Heb. 7:15-28, Rom. 8:1-5). Jesus was NOT referring to the Mosaic Law!) it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (John 14:14-21)
Another seeker writes:
"After years of sensing "there's something missing" in my understanding of the Bible, I launched into a renewed study; ultimately, I learned the truth about eternal torment. I began my study with a prayer that went something like this:
"Father, clear from my heart and mind the traditions of Men. Let me see Your Truths as you intend. Bless this effort to obey Your word by critically examining everything. Protect me from my own deceitful heart". He honored that prayer."--endquote
(Editor's note: Many sincere Christians discover that the teaching of Hell and everlasting punishment is false even though they are reading Bible translations which contain the teaching. Often the Holy Spirit can override one's Bible translation, but it sure helps when one reads a translation which is correctly translated regarding such important subjects as Hell.)
Another Christian whom I greatly respect, Richard Wurmbrandt, pastor and author of many books including "Tortured for Christ" said in one his sermons spoken in very broken English, "The Bible is a wonderful book. It is the truth about the Truth. It is not the Truth. A sermon taken from the Bible can be a wonderful thing to hear. It is the truth about the truth about the truth. But it is not the truth. There have been many books written about the things contained in the Bible. I have written some myself. They can be quite wonderful to read. They are the truth about the truth about truth about the Truth. But they are NOT the Truth. Only Jesus Christ is the Truth. Sometimes the Truth can be drowned in a multitude of words."
The Bible, Biblical reference works, men and women's teachings can all be wonderful aids to learning ABOUT the Truth. But to KNOW the Truth, one must be led into a living vibrant relationship via the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth with the Person of Jesus Christ, who IS the Truth.
The Term "The Bible" is Really a Myth
Technically, while we use the term all the time, there is really no such thing as "The Bible." There are all kinds of Christian Bibles and contrary to the popular belief of those who have not taken the time to compare translations, there are often great variations between the translations--even in major doctrine. There are some Bibles which contain 66 books, some contain 80, and some contain even more. There are Bibles written from an Arminian point of view and some written from a Calvinistic point of view. There are Bibles that contain the doctrine of Hell and Everlasting Punishment and there are many Bibles which don't. (Surprised by this? Read "Bible translations which do not contain Hell or Everlasting Punishment" by Tony Hinkle and Gary Amirault found at the Tentmaker Ministries Internet Site.) There are Bibles which support the Divine Right of the King of England (KJV) and Bibles with marginal readings condemning this right (Geneva Bible). There are Bibles based upon the Alexandrian family of text, Byzantine family, Western text, Eastern Text, eclectic (combination of various sorts) as well as others. There are Bibles which have added Chapter and verse numbers and headings, calendars, chronologies, punctuations (original Greek and Hebrew texts had little to no punctuation), cross-references, marginal readings, footnotes, commentaries, pictures, etc. There are customized Bibles made for children, teenagers, men, women, businessmen, alcoholics, Pentecostals, Baptists, etc. There are abridged Bibles, ones that have removed all miracles, ones for metaphysicians, etc. There are literal translations, dynamic equivalence translations, and paraphrase translations. There are those who have incorporated the recent archaeological discoveries like the Dead Sea Scrolls and there are those who stick with the tradition. There are translations aimed at a low reading level and translations for literary types. There are Bibles aimed at specific ethnic groups like Jews.
There are some Bibles which state that "if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the "BOOK of life" (KJV, NKJV) while others warn that one would lose their part in the "TREE of life." (NIV, NASB, etc) So which is it? Can one find out? Yes, they can, but they need to "study to show themselves approved." The correct text reads "tree of life." The King James New Testament is based upon a Greek Text which came to be know as the "Textus Receptus." This text was thrown together in 1516 from a handful of late Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. But none of them had the complete book of Revelation so he "borrowed" from the Latin Vulgate. One of the verses he borrowed was Revelation 20:19 which incorrect in the Latin. Dear student of the Bible, it is VITAL to your spiritual maturity that you become aware of these kinds of manipulations in some Bible translations as soon in your spiritual journey as possible. Various translations of the Bible are very useful tools, but they are only tools, and they are NOT the original inspired texts. They are translations made by human beings who err and who sometimes are corrupt. I have spoken to men who were involved in translating some of the leading Bible translations. From what they shared with me, I'm convinced the motive behind many of our translations is more focused on profit than on truth.
There are revisions of revisions of revisions. For example, the NASB Updated is a an update of the NASB which is a revision of the American Standard Version which is a revision of the American Standard which is the American Version of the Revised Version which is a revision of the King James Bible which went through several changes itself over its 350 year history. Very few people know that the original King James Bible contained the Apocryphal writings, an almanac, a list of Saints Holy days, and enough spelling mistakes to choke a horse. In the first year the King James "Authorized Version" was printed, there was one printing which read "he said" and another which read "she said" in Ruth 3:15. One edition of the 1611 KJV read ""Then cometh Judas" in Matthew 26:36 which should have been "Then cometh Jesus." Later editions of the King James Bible would contain embarrassing misprints like omitting the word "not" from the seventh of the ten commandments. This edition came to be known as the "Wicked Bible." The translators of the original "Authorized" 1611 King James Bible couldn't make up their mind whether Hades was the grave or Hell. In 1 Cor. 15:55 for the Greek word Hades they put "grave" in the text but put "or Hell" in the margins because they either weren't sure or they didn't want to let Paul declare that Jesus had victory over Hell. But in Revelation 20:13, the translators renders Hades as "Hell" in the text and "the grave" in the margins.
To make matters worse, in a 1639 edition, they reversed themselves in Revelation 20:13 putting "the grave" in the text and putting "Hell" in the margins. Clearly the translators, editors and printers of the original so-called "inerrant" Bible has been riddled with errors since its very first printing. And that is quite understandable considering the fact the King James gave the translators 15 rules by which they had to abide which enslaved the translators to the traditions of the Anglican Church and NOT to sound unbiased translating.
Here are a few of the rules imposed upon their translation which was really not a new translation at all, but merely a revision of the Bishop's Bible: 1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the "Bishops Bible," to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit. 2. The names of the Prophets, and the Holy Writers, with the other Names of the Text, to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they are vulgarly used. 3. The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. The Word "Church" not to be translated "Congregation" &c. As one can plainly see, the "tradition of the elders" held precedence over pure translating.
Dear reader, if at all possible, purchase a facsimile edition of the original 1611 King James Bible printed by Nelson Publishers in 1989. If I had that Bible right after becoming a Christian, I would not have been misled by the King James Only camp.
The Myth of the "Inerrant" Bible
One of the greatest disservices ever rendered me as a Christian has been being given books, articles, audio tapes, etc. stating that the Bible is "inerrant." I have read and hear many messages assuring me that "the Bible" is inerrant. Some of these sources qualify that to mean that the original autographs are inerrant, but considering the fact that we do NOT have ANY of the original autographs, the point of them being inerrant is rather moot. After all, how do they know they were inerrant since no one in any recent generations has ever seen them.
Furthermore, these writers state that basically all translations of the Bible read the same. Anyone who would make a statement like this (and there are MANY Christian publishers, writers and church leaders who say this) is simply completely misinformed and has not done their homework, or is plainly and knowingly lying. There are many important differences among the various translations of the Bible and some of them change to who nature and character of God. I will point out just a few so that the reader can see for themselves that this teaching of an "Inerrant Bible" is a lie which has prevented many people from getting at the truth. We'll begin with some small differences between various English translations and then work our way up to some bigger ones. We'll compare the Bible most tauted as the "Authorized" and "Inerrant" Bible, that is, the King James Version with other leading translations and earlier Bible manuscripts of the original languages of the Bible which weren't available to the King James translators which ARE available AND used by more modern translations:
- Was Jehoiachin 18 or 8 years old when he reigned? See 2 Kings 24:8 and 2 Chron. 36:9 in the KJV, NRSV and NASB and then compare with NIV. KJV says he was 18 in 2 Kings 24:8 and 8 in 2 Chron. 36:9. The other Bibles are consistent in both. He was 18. The NIV translators believed the 8 in some manuscripts was a scribal error.
- "Are you washed in the blood?" was suggested by Revelation 1:5--a passage which in the earlier manuscripts reads "loosed" (lusanti) rather than "washed" (lousanti). In Revelation, people wash their robes and make them white "in the blood of the Lamb"; but no biblical verse, other than the variant in Revelation 1:5 in the Textus Receptus, speaks of persons being washed in the blood. The songwriters have arrived at these ideas we hold dear because they misunderstood the wording of the KJV. It is not altogether out of order to remember that songs need to be measured by the biblical text properly interpreted and understood and not the converse." (The English Bible: From KJV to NIV, Jack P. Lewis, Baker Book House Pub., 1991, p. 67)
"released from our sins by His blood." Rev. 1:5, NASB
"has freed us from our sins by His blood." Rev. 1:5, NIV
"freed us from our sins by His blood." Rev. 1:5, NRSV
"looses us from our sins by His blood." Rev. 1:5, CLT
"having loosed us out of the sins of us by the blood of him." Rev. 1:5, Literal Greek from "Zondervan Parallel N.T. in Greek and English.
- The King James Bible has been reprinted many times. There have been hundreds of spelling mistakes in the KJV, some very embarrassing. Seems the Holy Spirit was incapable of "inspiring" the printers while He supposedly "inspired" the translators. In the 1611 editions of the KJV, some had "Then cometh Judas" in Matt. 26:36, which should have read "Then cometh Jesus." The two editions of the first edition of the 1611 KJV differed from each other in several respects. In later printings, one became known as the "Wicked Bible" because it omitted the word "not" from the seventh commandment. Another was nicknamed the "Unrighteous Bible" because the "unrighteous would inherit the Kingdom. There was the "Vinegar" KJV because it contained the "Parable of the Vinegar." There was also the "Ears to Ear Bible" as well as others.
- In the late nineteenth century, the American Bible Society examined six editions of the King James Bible and discovered over 24,000 variations between the editions. Surely English translations of the Bible are NOT inerrant.
- The phrase "Him that liveth for ever and ever," (Rev. 5:14), "our Lord Jesus Christ," (Eph. 3:14) "and he trembled and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said to him…" (Acts 9:6) occurs in not a single Greek manuscript. The phrase "book of life" in Rev. 22:19 also occurs in no known Greek manuscript on which the New Testament writings are based. So where did the King James translators get these and other scriptures which are NOT in the Greek manuscripts? From the corrupt Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate!
- The King James Bible contains references to mythological characters which do not actually exist. Their knowledge of Hebrew was NOT very good. They were filled with superstitions and some of them crept into their translation. Therefore we find "unicorns" (Deut. 33:17; Ps. 22:21; Isa. 34:7; etc.), the satyr (Isa. 13:21; 34:14), the dragon (Deut. 32:33; Job 30:29; Ps. 44:19; etc.), and the cockatrice (Isa. 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jer. 8:17). Jack P. Lewis in his excellent book "The English Bible, from KJV to NIV" writes speaking of the KJV translators, "They probably thought the creatures existed. They did encounter trouble in Deuteronomy 33:17 where the unicorns has horns (plural), but the translators solved the problem by reading "unicorns." The arrowsnake (Gen. 49:11, margin) is also a creature unknown to zoology….Even when translators are not consciously selecting words that reflect their religious bias, the words they select DO influence the reader's thinking."
- King James made the translators agree to 15 rules which they had to abide by in translating. One was "The old Eccleciastical Words to be kept, viz, the Word "Church" not to be translated "Congregation" &c." Some Christians felt that we shouldn't be using a term like "church" which clearly had pagan and mythological attachments to it. In the seventeenth century pagan as well as Jewish temples were also called "churches." The real origin of the word "church" comes from the Greek word "Kirke" (Circe in Anglo-Saxon), NOT ekklesia or kiriakon as some theologians suggest. Kirke was the mythological daughter of the Sun God who had power to turn men into animals. (For much more information on this amazing discovery, write to Tentmaker Publications.)
- The word "Lucifer" in the KJV has NO manuscript support whatsoever in Isaiah 14:12. The term is Latin, not Hebrew. Again this was borrowed from the corrupt Latin Vulgate.
- Many books have pointed out the thousands of errors contained in the King James Bible. How anyone can call it "inerrant" is really beyond comprehension, yet many Christians do. This speaks of the sad condition Christians are in regarding proper ways to study. Most denominational teachings are designed to continue to perpetuate error, NOT truth. One must get out of denominational influence if they are going to be led by the Spirit of God into all Truth. (John 16:13) Of all the books on the subject, I would recommend most "The English Bible From KJV to NIV" by Jack P. Lewis, published by Baker Book House, 1991. This book points out many errors in other leading translations of the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures making it very plain that there is no such thing as an "inerrant" translation of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. While Bible Translations are very useful tools, if one trusts their translation too much without understanding that it is NOT without errors, one may really get burned badly from their Bible. I was greatly deceived by the King James Bible AND by those who promoted it as the "Authorized" Inerrant Word of God. This was and is simply a gross misleading lie.
"It shall greatly help
ye to understand scripture if thou mark--not only what is spoken and written,
but of whom,
and to whom,
with what words,
at what time,
to what intent,
with what circumstances,
considering what goeth before
and what followeth." --Miles Coverdale in the introduction of his New Testament, 16th century
Some Wisdom from a Bible student of 30 years:
"The only thought I have is one that has taken me 30 years to figure out (and still just barely getting a glimmer of it.) There is a way of reading the Bible that seems to leave God far away, off in the shadows somewhere. It is all information and technicalities and knowledge, but it feels like you're sitting with your back towards God. You come up against a difficulty or question, and you go to books, you ask pastors, friends, strangers on the internet, anyone but Him. Gradually God gets smaller and dimmer. You might have another facet to your relationship with Him, where you do seek Him face to face and heart to heart, but that is prayer, and the Bible is Bible study. The two seem and feel (and ARE!) quite different. Needless to say, that's the wrong way! It's hard to say what the right way is, but it's the opposite of what I just described. It is using the Bible as a means to an end, and the end is to know God. Whatever leads towards that end, whether it is studying the Greek aorist tense or learning the history of Israel, is good. Whatever leads away from that end is worse than a waste of time. We do not accumulate points for knowing a lot about the Bible, or for reading it a certain amount of time or a certain number of times. We will be judged by how clearly we saw Him in every person and circumstance of our lives and how we responded to Him. Period."
Another disciple of Jesus and Bible student writes:
"But THE GOAL OF OUR INSTRUCTION IS LOVE from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." (1 Tim 1:5) The goal is the experiential knowledge of Jesus. For how could one know love (agape) without knowing Him?
I would emphasize "BEING" and partaking of the "DIVINE NATURE" as to "doing." I would make the following quote from 2 Peter the corner stone of their foundation. Everything else will follow.
"For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the (full, personal) knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).
By means of these (all things suited to life) He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape (by flight) from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become SHARERS (PARTAKERS) OF THE DIVINE NATURE."
For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy); and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control; and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),
And in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, THEY WILL KEEP [YOU] FROM BEING IDLE OR UNFRUITFUL UNTO THE (FULL PERSONAL) KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Messiah, the Anointed One. FOR WHOEVER LACKS THESE QUALITIES IS BLIND, [SPIRITUALLY] SHORTSIGHTED, seeing only what is near to him; and has become oblivious [of the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins." (2 Pet 1:3-8 Amplified,)
I would suggest reading the Scripture "loosely." What I mean by that is simply read it without any preconceived ideas. Don't try to "force fit" verses. After "here a little and there a little," everything will fall into place as they lean on the Spirit's leading. The Spirit will "lift off" the pages the words needed.
For the "apparent" conflicting verses, I'd instruct them to believe them both until they are finally reconciled in their mind as they grow in understanding. Put on the shelf what isn't understood. Eat the meat and spit out the bones.
Pray and seek for UNDERSTANDING, for it is the person who hears the word and UNDERSTANDS IT that will be fruitful.
Keep the attitude that every man is a liar. In other words, verify, verify, verify.
As one acquires Scripture knowledge, I would admonish to guard against self-righteousness. Do a reality check by re-reading 1 Cor 13 periodically.
Run away like a banshee from any type of legalism! What really helped me over the years is a scripture verse I held on to tenaciously and made a part of my life.
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Gal 5:1)
I would suggest new believers pray for a hearing ear and an ability to obey. Having a hearing ear means being able to hear within one's own being the voice of the Spirit, which is an intuitive knowing within. When I was a young convert, I and a friend of mine who was also newly converted, came across a group of believers who were advocating leaving all to follow Christ. They said forsake father and mother and etc., just as Jesus taught. Being young converts, we wanted to do what was right. Should we leave our parents to follow Jesus? The words were scriptural, but the spirit was wrong. After praying (and with us not knowing the scripture), we simply flipped opened the Bible and came to the passage about false apostles and deceitful workers disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. We understood that portion of Scripture as a confirmation of the check we felt within our spirits to not join ourselves with these believers. We walked away from that group. Several weeks later we learned how that group was breaking up and destroying families. We had a practical experience in hearing and obeying. Needless to say, we thanked God we were spared unnecessary hardship.
A good book of Biblical names would be helpful as well as a harmony of the gospels. Get as many translations as possible.--endquote.
Bible Helps From Many Sources
- If the Scripture one is studying appears to make God a hypocrite, you might be reading it through church traditions or might have a faulty translation or you may not be seeing the larger picture.
- "Mercy triumphs (exalts over) judgment." (James 2:13) "Nothing is too difficult for Him." (Jer. 32:17) "Love NEVER fails." (1 Cor. 13:8) "His mercies are over ALL His works." (Psalm 145:9) "ALL the families of the earth will be blessed." (Gen. 12:3; 28:14) "God will NOT cast off forever" (Lam. 3:31,32) "All the ends of the earth will return to Him." (Ps. 22:27)
- Whenever God's nature, character or power are in question, give God MORE room to be more loving, merciful, and just than what we might expect. His greatness in mercy, love and forgiveness is beyond man's capabilities and we often bring God's attributes downward instead of upward.
- If you truly want to understand, you must have the Father's heart. The key to understanding is in the heart of the Father. Therefore, ask the Father to reveal His heart to you.
- If one harbors prejudice, hate, revenge, jealousy, bitterness, envyings, nationalism, denominational biases, "traditions of men," "doctrines of demon," uncontrollable anger, fear of man, self-justification, being a people pleaser, pride, and other "idols of the heart" (Ezek. Chapter 14) in their hearts, those things will surely influence that they see in the Bible and their concept of God, their fellow man and themselves.
- If one mixes the Mosaic Law or church creeds, denominational laws, rites, rituals, articles of faith with the simplicity of the gospel, you WILL fall from grace and lose the freedom found only by abiding in Christ. (Gal. Chapters 3, 4, and 5)
- Tear out two pages in your Bible which do not belong there. The one before Genesis which says "The Old Testament (or Covenant) and the one before Matthew which says "The New Testament (or Covenant). The Covenants are NOT a set of books, they are real compacts between God and a people. The Old Testament is found in what is commonly, but incorrectly called "the New Testament" and the New Testament is found in what is commonly but incorrectly called "the Old Testament."
- The Old Testament was ONLY established with the nation of Israel AND it was abolished when Jesus inaugurated the New Testament with His own blood. Do NOT let any Judaizing minister or pastor put any portions of the Old Covenant upon you. "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10) And again, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by the law; you have fallen from grace." (Gal. 5:4) Even the very cornerstone of the Old Covenant, the Ten Commandments, Paul calls "the ministry of condemnation," "the ministry of death." (2 Cor. 3:7-18)
- "Because Christ Jesus came to the world clothed in humility, he will always be found among those who are clothed with humility. He will be found among the humble people. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) Seek teachers who manifest love and humility. Avoid those who manifest pride and those who advertise themselves. "A man can counterfeit love, he can counterfeit faith, he can counterfeit hope and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit humility." Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899) "Humility is nothing but truth, while pride is nothing but lying." Vincent De Paul (1580-1660)
- Whenever God's nature, character or power are in question, give God MORE room to be more loving, merciful, and just than what we might expect. His greatness in mercy, love and forgiveness is beyond man's capabilities and we often bring God's attributes downward instead of upward.
- Does the interpretation of the verse violate the nature and character of God; His omniscience, self-existence and self-sufficiency, His immutability, omnipotence, omnipresence, His justness, His nature which is love, a love much higher than our imaginations can conceive.
- The Bible is by far the most valuable, most important, and yet also most dangerous book in the world. Handle with extreme care.
- Do not search the Bible looking for life. Life is not in the letter, it is in the Spirit of God. "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life (Greek=zoen aionion); and these testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." (John 5:39) The Bible nor those skilled in handling the Bible can reveal Jesus Christ to a person. One can learn ABOUT Jesus from the Bible and its teachers, but one cannot get to KNOW Jesus from them. "When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples, saying, 'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?' So they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Jesus answered and said to him,' Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.'" (Matt. 16:13-19) As one pastor said, "You can read it in the Greek, in the Hebrew, in the KJV, in the CLT, in the NIV, but you'll never hear Abba speak through it until you read it in the Spirit."
- Many leading "selling" reference books about the Bible were written by men and women who allowed their denominational doctrines to affect their work. Leading works like Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Strong's Concordance, and Kittel's Theological Dictionary, while being useful, also unfortunately contain some serious errors due to denominational biases and unclean hearts.
- Remember, knowing the Bible well does NOT mean one knows the God described in that Bible. A deceitful heart will find whatever Scriptures they need to justify their wicked ways. KKK literature is FULL of King James Scripture verses. The South in America used the Bible to support slavery and the Mormons used it to support polygamy. There are over 30,000 different denominations of Christianity most of which believe they represent the true interpretation of the Bible.
- English is a very fluid language. Words change meanings over a very short period of time. Some words in the King James Bible, for example, today have the OPPOSITE meaning they had back then. The word "let" sometimes meant "to refrain or prevent" back in the 1600's. MANY words in older English Bible translations have changed meaning and it is important to know that. The modern English word "damned," for example, does NOT have the meaning today which that word has in King James' day. Then it was just a legal term meaning "to suffer loss." It could be an insignificant loss. Today, due to theologians changing the meaning of the word, those English Bibles which still contain the words "damned," "damn," "damnation," do NOT represent the true meaning of the Greek words which they translate. Most English Bibles no longer contain those words because they no longer carry a meaning which properly translates the Greek.
- According to Bullinger's "Figures of Speech Used in the Bible," there are over 200 DIFFERENT types of figures of speech in the Greek texts which make up what we commonly but incorrectly call "The New Testament. Some types of speech, irony, for example, require an opposite meaning than what is actually written. (Ezek. 20:39, 28:1-19; Isa. 14:1-24; 1 Cor. 4:8) Hyperbole is an exaggeration or overstatement intended to drive the point home. (Luke 14:26; John 12:1-19) Metonymy is when one thing is substituted for something similar. (2 Sam. 12:10) Synecdoche is when a part is substituted for the whole or vis-a-versa. (Isa. 2:4; Phil. 3:19) A metaphor suggests a comparison. (Matt. 7:15, 19-20) There are many more types of speech employed in the Greek and Hebrew and MOST English Bible translations do NOT make this clear either in the text, margins or footnotes.
- Ancient Semitic languages like the Biblical languages of Hebrew and Aramaic were weak in words that express abstract thoughts. They often used common words describing natural events or things to also have abstract meanings. The Hebrew word for "kidneys" also means "reign." English, while having many more words devoted to abstract concepts than Hebrew also used words in this manner. The word "heart" can refer to the human organ, but it can also refer mean courage, conscience, etc. Many Bibles, especially the older translations, often do not bring out the abstract meaning.
- Learn the spiritual meanings of words and numbers in the Bible. For example, God calls human beings trees. Trees sometimes clap their hands. What is God saying here. All natural objects like animals, parts of the body, objects in nature like clouds, water, rivers, lakes, rocks, mountains, etc. have spiritual meanings. To understand God's prophetic passages in Scripture, one must know the spiritual meaning behind natural words. Paul tells us Hagar and her son in the O.T. is actually an allegory representing the Mosaic Law. Peter's vision of animals on a blanket which Peter was to "kill and eat" were actually gentile people with which Jews could now fellowship because the wall of partition (the Law) was done away with. The book of Revelation, as is most of the Bible, is FULL of allegories, figures of speech, parables, signs, types and shadows which must be spiritually understood to get at the true meaning. Probably all the numbers in the Bible probably has spiritual significance. Some numbers, like 7, 10, 12, 30, 40, 70, 120, etc., are obvious. Others are more difficult to interpret. Seek God with all your heart to get HIS understanding of the Bible, not some man's interpretation. "Wisdom is the principle thing: And with all thy getting, get understanding." (Prov. 4:7)
- Never create a doctrine by vague, difficult single scriptures.
- Be diligent in your studying. Laziness is NOT rewarded in Bible Study.
- Context is everything. Broaden the context as far as possible. Read before and after until the verse falls in place.
- When trying to get a doctrine from a text, compare SEVERAL translations, especially different types; literal word-for-word, dynamic equivalence (translates meaning over being literal word-for-word) and even look at some paraphrase types. Then look at a Hebrew/Greek/English interlinear. If there is a great variance between translations on this verse, take great caution regarding making a doctrine out of that verse.
- Try to find if there is a denominational bias in a translation (there usually is). Finding who the translators were and what seminary or denomination that are from often says a lot.
- Find out if the translators of the Bible had to sign a statement of faith before they began. Were they paid?
- Is the publisher of the Bible a commercial book publishing company? I have found that "profit" often has a LOT to do with how a translation is actually translated. I have heard of or spoken to translators whose translating was greatly edited because it would affect the marketability of the translation.
- To the ability that you have compare the Greek and Hebrew. Use lexicons, word study books, and commentaries which focus more on the meaning of the original words rather than reference words that focus more on "interpretting" for you what it means.
- Sometimes what the scriptures do NOT say are as important as what they DO say.
- Does the interpretation make logical sense? Sometimes we swallow something because it is so unusual, not because it is true.
- If the teaching rests on a particular Hebrew or Greek word, where is the first place it is used in the Bible and how is it used there. While this is not a hard-fast rule, often the first occurrence of a word is helpful in determining meanings.
- Is this doctrine essential? If so, press God through fervent prayer to show you the truth in the matter.
- Does the Scripture connect somewhere?
- Has the verse been repeated elsewhere?
- If the verse in question is after the book of Matthew and is a quotation from Genesis through Malachi, does there appear to be a difference in meaning between the two verses? Do the two verses appear to be saying something different in their contexts.
- Don't try to learn too much at one sitting. Making it stick is more important than quantity read.
- Heart knowledge is more valuable that head knowledge. It is easier to give something which has become a part of you than to share things you hardly know yourself.
- Put the Scripture into its proper historical and cultural setting.
- How would you have reacted to what was said in the scripture had you lived in that time.
- Does the Scripture seem to hang by itself? For example, in Luke 16:18 is a verse which deals with divorcing a wife. Immediately after that verse, is the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Many Christians interpret this parable as proof of heaven and hell. But that leaves verse 18 just hanging by itself as if it was out of place. But if the subject of the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus was adultery and divorce symbolically, then the meaning of the parable may be completely different from the traditional interpretation.
- Is the verse spoken in absolute or general terms?
- If your interpretation appears to be hard to prove or hard to explain, perhaps you should let it go for now.
- Is the verse intended to be read figuratively or symbolically?
- Apparent contradictions between writers in the Bible may actually prove the authenticity of the story since there was no collusion between the writers. It's not necessarily a bad thing to find errors in the Bible.
- Don't stand on your interpretation until you can honestly deal with those scriptures which seem to contradict your interpretation.
- Consider the grammar of the English. Does it make sense to you?
- Learn to recognize literary types and consider them when trying to determine meaning. Here are some types: Narrative, prophetic, poetic, parabolic and proverbial.
- Always check your own motives for study. Above all, our study should be to get to know God better.
- Sprinkle your Bible study with lots of prayer. Jesus promised to send us the Holy Spirit who would lead us into all truth. (John 16:13)
And last but not least, there's the matter of Eschatology: "The study of last things"
There are thousands perhaps millions of people who, after reading the Bible, have come to the same conclusion to which one of the most famous atheists, Bertrand Russell, came to. He felt Jesus couldn’t be Who He said He was because the things He and His apostles said would happen in their time, didn’t happen. Below are listed a few of the many passages they would point to and say these things were not fulfilled according to the plain reading of the English text:
- Matt. 10:23--Jesus said He would return in the lifetime of His disciples.
- Matt. 16:27-28--Jesus said He would return with His angels to judge all men before every one standing there died.
- Matt. 24:29-34--Jesus said He would return in the clouds with His angels--in that generation.
- Acts 3:19ff--Peter said Jesus would return when all the Old Covenant prophecies were fulfilled. If the Old Prophesies have not been fulfilled, the Old Covenant is still in effect. (Matthew 5:17-18)
- Romans 13:12--Paul said "the day is at hand." That was said 1900 years ago!
- 1 Cor. 7:28-31--Paul said "the fashion of this world is passing away," and "the time is short." Again, this was stated 1900 years ago to that generation.
- Hebrews 9:28, 10:37--The writer said Christ would appear a second time for salvation and then asserted "in a very, very little while He that will come, and will not tarry." Is 1900 years a "little while?"
- James 5:7-9--James urged his readers to be faithful "until the coming of the Lord," he says "The coming of the Lord is at hand," and "The judge is standing right at the door."
- 1 John 2:15-18--John said the world was passing away and "it is the last hour." Again, the last hour was 1900 years ago!
- Revelation--this book says no less than ten times that its predictions "must shortly come to pass," were "at hand," were to happen "quickly," there would be "no more delay," etc., etc.
(The above list came from a little booklet entitled Can God Tell Time by Don Preston)
Millions of people have read the Bible and said, "no more delay," "shortly," "quickly," "day is at hand," and "it is the last hour," cannot refer to thousands of years! These people have also had problems with Bible teachers taking scriptures like Daniel’s 70 weeks and chopping the last 7 years of the prophecy and separating it by thousands of years from the first 69 weeks! They say if one does this with these kinds of scriptures, then one can turn the Bible into whatever they want.
As a result of Bible teachers twisting scriptures like the ones above and relegating them to our time, many sincere seekers have abandoned Christianity as an institution which declares truth. They have come to the conclusion that since the church teaches that Christ has not yet come back in His second coming, then Jesus and His apostles were false prophets. Therefore, they cannot put their faith and hope in Christianity.
Either Jesus DID return to the very generation in a manner most Christians have not been taught, or the Bible cannot be trusted to be accurate even in the smallest matters. Jesus DID return to that generation of Jews in 70AD in the form of a judgment upon Israel by the Roman Army. This is the way the Lord visited Israel many times during its existence. A careful reading of Josephus, a Jewish Historian who wrote of this catastrophic event in his "Wars of the Jews" will prove that Jesus' words of prophesy against that last wicked generation came true to the very letter. This booklet cannot go into the details. Write Tentmaker Publications for more information on this most important information. Do not let yourself get sucked into the "rapture" theory and the Great Tribulation which is going to come upon the earth any day. The "Great Tribulation" of the Bible has already happened! And exactly the way Jesus said it would happen.
Tips for reading other people's interpretations of the Bible.
- What is the writer's basic philosophy? Is he or she an apologist from a particular stream of thought--a particular denomination or sect?
- Does humility come through their writings or do they present themselves as God's single revealer of the hidden mysteries of the Bible.
- Do you sense any prejudice coming through.
- Try to get a sense of the author's motives. Is he or she truly trying to bring glory to God or are they trying to glorify themselves.
- Do you sense they are "merchandizing" the gospel?
Why Make New Translations of the Bible?
The English language continues to change. It has changed so much that English written over 500 years ago are unintelligible to us today. Some words actually take on the opposite meaning they once had. In some places in the KJV, for example, the word "let" meant "to restrain." New words and expressions are added to English daily. An American a few hundred years from now will not be able to understand what you are reading on this page. As long as English and other languages remain fluid, there will always be a need for new translations of the Bible.
The original 1611 "Authorized" King James Version contained an introductory letter entitled "The translators to the Readers." In it we find the following sentence: "But we desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the very vulgar." How would you like to be called "very vulgar?" "Vulgar" in King James' day had the meaning of "uneducated or school children." It was not meant to be a slur. However, today, should KJV publishers put that very same letter back into the "Authorized Version," many readers would feel insulted. There are literally hundreds of words in the original KJV which are either no longer in contemporary English or the meaning has changed so dramatically that they misrepresent the original writer's meaning.
New manuscripts have been discovered in the last century which have brought us closer to the original texts. The closer we can get to the original writings, the more certain and accurate we can be in our translations. Some recent major discoveries are:
A. Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) discovered in 1844 in the monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula by Tischendorf. 4th Century.
B. The NT Papyri a series of fragments discovered in Egypt in 1895.
C. The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in caves near the Dead Sea beginning in 1947. Portions of almost every book of the Old Testament were found hundreds of years older than any previously found. They strongly confirmed the authenticity of the Hebrew text.
Modern Biblical scholarship is FAR superior to the scholarship of the Reformation period. Many Christian modern historians and Bible publishers have glorified the early reformators and sometimes their abilities. Translating Greek and Hebrew lacked far behind the medical and scientific communities in the time of the translating of the King James Bible. Below is an example of the level of advancement medicine and science was in the days of King James. The following was the latest cure for sword wounds. King James swore by this potion: "Weapon salve: Take of moss growing on the head of a thief who has been hanged and left in the air; of real mummy; of human blood, still warm--pf each one ounce; of human suet, tow ounces; of linseed oil, turpentine, and Armenian bole--of each, two drachms. Mix all well in a mortar, and keep the salve in an oblong, narrow urn." ("Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, L.C. Page & Co., 1932, p. 308) The salve was to be applied to the weapon and laid in a cool place, the wound was to be washed with fair clean water, covered with a clean soft, linen rag, and opened once a day to cleanse of purulent or other matter.while the wound has progressively advanced making greater accuracy possible. As we can see, the scholarship of King James' day lacked far behind the scholarship of today. Two areas in which have been great advancement are textual criticism and linguistics.
Textual Criticism in King James' day was virtually non-existent. Translators during that time had relatively few manuscripts available to them. Today we have over 7000 New Testament manuscripts alone. 30-35,000 Latin copies. A manuscript is a hand-written text as opposed to a printed text. Prior to the mid-fourteen hundreds all writing was done by hand. This meant that many human errors went to the copying process. Sometimes a word was mispelled, sometimes words were added or taken away. An entire line could be missed or a line repeated. These errors would be repeated when recopied and new errors would be added by the next scribe. Sometimes the scribe would think there was a mistake in the text and he would try to correct it in his copy. And sometimes the scribe would put his own interpretation into the text. I've been told that of all the New Testament texts we have, no two are exactly identical, each differ from each other usually in very minor ways. It is the job of the textual critic to try to create a text employing his detective-like skill to determine which reading is most likely the original one.
The study of other ancient languages have also advanced. Increased understanding of ancient Semitic languages Aramaic, Akkadian, Ugaritic and others help us understand Hebrew and Greek better. Some obscure words in the Greek and Hebrew sometimes have a similar word in another language which gives a clue to its possible meaning.
Anything that can get us closer to what the original writer meant should be encouraged. There are some forces in Christianity which seek to circumvent this effort. Don't make yourself an accomplice to their darkness. Light the light continue to get brighter and brighter. New is not always better. But in the case of Bibles, the more recent translations are generally much superior to those produced in the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries.
Modern archaeology is continually giving us better information about the manners and customs of the Biblical period. Their findings often clear up obscure passages of the Bible.
Examples of Figures of Speech Employed by Jesus:
An Introduction to the Teaching of Jesus as Recorded in the Gospels (from the Method and Message of Jesus' Teachings by Robert Stein, Westminster, 1978)
Methods of Teaching Used by Jesus
1) Overstatement of the truth, exaggeration
Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - - yes, even his own life - - he cannot be my disciple. (NIV)
How do we know we should not take this literally?
cf. Mark 7:9f-where Jesus criticized the Pharisees for not loving their parents
cf. Luke 6:27-love your enemies (must include family)
Overstatement is a statement that is not meant to be taken literally, but could be taken literally.
Hyperbole is a statement that also is not meant to be taken literally, and could not possibly be taken literally.
Matthew 23:23- 24 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - - mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (NIV)
Jesus' meaning is clear and forceful.
A pun is a play on words in which either homonyms (like-sounding words) suggest two or more different meanings or the same word may have two different meanings.
Example: Might makes right
"If you think it's weak to be meek, try being meek for a week."
It's brief, serious, but with a touch of humor.
Jesus' puns are not apparent in English, or even in Greek. The verse must be translated back into Aramaic, the language Jesus likely spoke.
Example: Matthew 23:23- 24 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - - mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (NIV)
gnat is galma, camel is gamla in Aramaic
24 You blind guides! You strain out a galma but swallow a gamla.
This shows Jesus' sense of humor.
An explicit comparison between two essentially unlike things
introduced by a connective such as--as..or like...
Example: Blind as a bat
Snug as a bug (in a rug)
Example: Luke 17:6 He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you. (NIV)
Luke 13:34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (NIV)
Similes and parables are related. When a simile is expanded into a story, the result is a parable.
An implicit comparison between two essentially unlike things
not introduced by a connective such as--as..or like...
Examples: to pigeon-hole=to categorize
To buttonhole=to pin down
To weasel (worm) out of a situation=to escape from a situation
Example Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. (NIV)
Other examples include the "I am" sayings of John
Example: John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (NIV)
Jesus followed in the wisdom tradition of the Middle East. This is especially apparent in his use of proverbs..
-a memorable statement, a terse, pithy statement, must be one sentence
sort of a sentence-sermon
Examples: Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)
Mark 3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. (NIV)
Jesus: Mark 14:58 "We heard him say, `I will destroy this man- made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.'" (NIV)
8) Paradox (these are proverbs too)
-a statement that may appear to be self-contradictory, absurd, or at variance with common sense but that, upon investigation or when explained, may prove to be logical
(Some of these may not appear paradoxical to us in a culture shaped by Christian values, but in their original situation, they did)
Luke 14:11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (NIV)
Mark 10:43- 44 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. (NIV)
9) The Use of Questions
Several centuries before the time of Jesus, Socrates made famous the use of questions as a method of instruction. Socrates was well aware that by his use of questions he forced his audience to become involved in the learning process. Jesus frequently used questions in his teaching. One way was by drawing his audience in to give the correct answer he sought. By being drawn out from the listeners rather than by simply being declared by Jesus, the correct answer was more convincingly and permanently impressed upon their minds.
The turning point of his entire ministry centered around an incident in Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus asked his disciples:
Mark 8:27- 32 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"...
Counter-question: used in possibly hostile situations
(Luke 7:39-42; 10:26 (?); 13:15-16; 14:1-5)
Luke 13:15- 16 The Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 (NIV)Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?"
Rhetorical Question: not just to get an answer, but to produce an effect.
Luke 6:39 He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? (NIV)
10) Parabolic or Figurative Actions
A teaching contained in the action itself. This was nonverbal teaching.
The action of Jesus in these instances was often carefully planned and thought out in order to serve as an instructive tool for his disciples and his audience. A verbal commentary or explanation might follow, but the action itself was parabolic and was meant to teach.
Luke 19:1- 7
The protest of the crowd indicates that they saw in Jesus' action symbolic significance.
35% of Jesus' teaching recorded in the Synoptics is parable.
Parables are well known even to secular people today. We speak of being a "good Samaritan," wheat and tares, counting the cost, being a prodigal son, hiding one's light under a bushel, frequently without realizing we are actually quoting from the Bible.
Defined: a comparison, an analogy, a story: "An earthly story with a heavenly meaning."
A parable is an expanded simile or metaphor
"The kingdom of God is like..." (Followed by a story/parable)
Examples: The Good Samaritan
The Four Soils
The Lost (Prodigal) Son
The parables are not allegories, where each element has a meaning foreign to the story itself.
interpretation of The Good Samaritan:
certain man = Adam
thieves = Satan
priest and Levite= the ministry of the OT
Samaritan = Jesus Christ
Inn = The church
Innkeeper = Paul, etc.
Parables are simple stories told to make ONE MAIN point (usually).
Function: to call forth a response in the hearer.
Therefore, do not try to derive too much theology from the parables. Parables were not meant necessarily to convey truth, or even illustrate it, but to call forth a response.
Interpreting a parable is like interpreting a joke: you lose the punch.
The two things that capture the hearer of a joke and elicit a response of laughter are the same two things that captured the hearers of Jesus' parables, namely their knowledge of the points of reference and the unexpected turn in the story.
-Fee and Stuart, p. 127
Keys to understanding the Parables
1) Identify the audience. (a teacher of the law in the Good Samaritan), (Luke 15)
2) Understand the points of reference ("Samaritan" in the Good Samaritan)
3) It may help to re-tell the story with current points of reference
(Example: Fee, p. 133)
Why did Jesus teach in parables?
1) To confuse (those on the outside)
-for his own protection against those who would use his teachings to get him in trouble with Roman rule.
-to hide the gospel from those on the outside or
-to provoke more interest, discussion (relevant to our discussion method of Bible study)
2) To make his message more clear (for those on the inside)
Some were self explanatory. Others he explained (the 4 soils)
3) To disarm, to catch someone short
Example: Nathan's classic with David.
The form or vehicle that Jesus used to convey his message is clearly not the language of twentieth-century science but rather the metaphorical, exaggerating, impressionistic language of a culture that loved to tell stories. The vehicle that Jesus used to convey his message is, however, not an end in itself. It is the message far more than the medium that is paramount, for that message was and is the Word of God. To understand that Word correctly, however, requires us to understand the vehicle that Jesus used. (Stein, pp. 32-33)
We are a scientific culture, more used to scientific language--"say what you mean and mean what you say. Don't get cutesy." Jesus' language is far more impressionistic. It's the difference between a photograph and a painting. We use both.
Stuart Briscoe says today's preachers must preach to the mind, the will and the emotions. Jesus is a great example of one who does all three. Stories and figures of speech go beyond the mind and hit us in our emotions. That opens the door of our will.
There's a pendulum swing (metaphor) in our culture back to storytelling. Logic is less convincing. If it's emotionally compelling, it's more convincing.
Types of Biblical
Literature: Old Testament
From Lesson 2 of the Old Testament Bethel Bible Series
Here's The Same Story Written in Four Different Literary Styles:
A great fire raged through the Northeast residential area of Centerville today, taking hundreds of lives and destroying millions of dollars' worth of property. A strong north wind hampered the efforts of the fire fighters to bring the flames under control. Tonight, hundreds of Red Cross workers converged on the charred city to bring aid to the stricken citizens.
"The loud voices of
flames bid the winds welcome,
while trees mourned and hills grimaced in pain.
A remnant of the living tried valiantly to silence the mouths of the flames
but fell useless under the belching breath of the conqueror.
While midst the chaos stood a band of angels,
binding up the wounds of the fallen."
Imagery and Symbolism
"Remember the garden in the days of its splendor, before the evil days came; when the sky was reddened, and shrieks came up from the streets; when an enemy came upon us and joined forces with nature's breath. Ah, cursed hour, thou hast left behind thee scores of open pits, each claiming its dead. Men and women are cast down in ashes. Mourners go about the streets and red angels stretch out loving arms, to lift up the fallen."
"O torturous memory
of searing flames and the cries of the dying
Begone and let us rest;
What bleakness thou has cast upon us,
And cruel wind, why didst thou visit us in this ill-appointed hour?
Why didst thou choose to heap sorrow upon sorrow?
But for the angels of mercy crossed in red,
We might all have gone down in pits.
O torturous memory of searing flames and the cries of the dying,
Begone and let us rest.
Historical Reporting of an Event (Luke 2:1-7)
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Historical event in poetic media (Judges 5:15b-18)
In the districts of
Reuben there was much searching of heart.
Why did you stay among the campfires
to hear the whistling for the flocks?
In the districts of Reuben there was much searching of heart.
Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan.
And Dan, why did he linger by the ships?
Asher remained on the coast
and stayed in his coves.
The people of Zebulun risked their very lives;
so did Naphtali on the heights of the field.
Imagery and Symbolism (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)
1 Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"— 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; 3 when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; 4 when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; 5 when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets. 6 Remember him -- before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Personification (Isaiah 55:12b)
. . . the mountains
and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Historical Allusion Through Fable (Judges 9:8-15)
8 "One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king.' 9 But the olive tree answered, 'Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees'' 10 Next, the trees said to the fig tree, 'Come and be our king.' 11 But the fig tree replied, 'Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees'' 12 Then the trees said to the vine, 'Come and be our king.' 13 But the vine answered, 'Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees'' 14 Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, 'Come and be our king.' 15 The thornbush said to the trees, 'If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!'"
Allegory (Psalm 80:8-12)
8 You brought a vine
out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it,
and it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 It sent out its boughs to the Sea,
its shoots as far as the River.
12 Why have you broken down its walls
so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
Hebrew poetry is characterized by the use of parallelisms (thought rhythm as opposed to sound rhythm or rhyme). Hebrew poets used many different types of parallelism. Several of the main types are most frequently mentioned are given below. However, there are many subclasses that have not been included.
Synonymous (same or similar): A statement and restatement in the same or similar terms.
Psalm 3:1. . . O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
Antithetic (opposites): The second line expresses the same idea in a negative or contrasting manner. This is rare in the prophets but common in Proverbs and Psalms.
Psalm 1:6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Synthetic (completion): The second line adds to the thought of the first line in order to complete it.
Psalm 95:3For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.
Chain figure (sorites) is another example of synthetic parallelism:
Joel 1:4 What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.
Climactic (stair step): The thought of the second line expands and reinforces the first; there is a logical progression and building of thought.
Psalm 29:1. . .Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Emblematic (picture/imagery): One line uses a word picture to illustrate the thought stated in the parallel line (either before or after), i.e. One line is to be taken literally but the parallel is figurative.
Psalm 23:1. . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
External and internal (intertwined parallelism): Two different sets of parallel lines are intertwined.
Isaiah 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah!
Some suggestions for getting the eyes of our understanding opened
- Join some internet discussion groups where translators discuss translation problems. This will make one appreciate the difficulty and the room for error in translating. It will also cause one not to be so quick to be dogmatic about what a particular verse really says. The first internet site is for Hebrew studies, the second for N.T. Greek, and the last is for both. One may also join their email discussion lists by following instructions at these web sites. Warning: this stuff is WAY over most people's heads. But it is very helpful in showing us how difficult it is to make a Bible translation and how much room for human error there is in the translating process. http://www.dutchworks.nl/htbin/hpsysadmin --http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek/ -- http://bibletranslation.listbot.com/
- Look into some of the leading doctrinal issues which divide the body of Christ. Mode of Baptism, communion, tongues, gifts, once-saved-always-saved or not, election or choice in salvation, law versus grace, etc., etc. See where you stand on the issue and then go visit some pastors and leaders from the opposite point of view and really give them a chance to present their side. You might be surprised to find that EVERY side usually has scriptural support for their positions. Then lay your doctrines aside and let the Holy Spirit show you the truth on these doctrinal differences.
- Study early Church history from a NON-denominational point of view. Look at this history from the viewpoint of a non-believer. This will help you see why many people in the world want nothing to do with Jesus, NOT because of Jesus, but because of what the church has done in Jesus' name.
- Read some of the early Christian leader's writings. They can be found at: http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ . Remember, these are translations which have been made sometimes by men whose minds are clouded with their own denominations theology. This OFTEN comes through in their translating. I know that in many of the early church writings the translator mistranslated the Greek word "aion" and its adjective "aionios." They translated this word "eternal," "everlasting," or "forever," when in fact, the words refer to "an indeterminate period of time which has an end." This error makes some early Church writers "appear" to teach "everlasting" punishment when in fact what they really taught was "age-during correction." Origen is a classic example of this. We know he was an avowed universalist, yet some translators misrepresented some of his writings by mistranslating some key Greek words like "aion." Read especially the Fathers who wrote and read the N.T. in the Greek. Those church Fathers who read the Scriptures in Latin seemed to be getting something different than those who read the Greek. Clearly, there were MAJOR errors in the Latin versions of the Bible. It had a profound and negative effect on the church. Eventually, Latin was the only authorized language for the Roman Catholic Church which covered all of Europe. It was not until the sixteenth century before the Greek and Hebrew languages would be studied again. As long as Latin ruled in the church, the church was dead. Returning to Greek and Hebrew as the base text and allowing translations into common languages from those languages was the beginning cleaning up Bibles. We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. All translations of the Bible have much room for improvement.
Books Useful For Deeper Bible Study
Internet Sources for New & Used Books
Advanced Book Exchange: http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abep/il.dll
Used Christian books: http://www.tentmaker.org/lists/dealerlist.html
Tentmaker Resources: Tentmaker's own online store: Tentmaker Resources
Books That Have Greatly Helped Me Understand God and the Bible Better
"Benjamin" by Bill Britton
"Beyond Jordan" By Bill Britton,
"The Golden Altar of Incense," by Bill Britton
"The Feast of Tabernacles" by George Warnock
"The Parousia," By J. Stuart Russell, reprinted by Baker Book House, 1990
"Redating the New Testament," by John A.T. Robinson, Westminister Press, 1976
"Matthew 24 Fulfilled," By John L. Bray, self-published, 1996
"The God Chasers," by Tommy Tenney, Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA. 17257
"The Spirit of the Pharisee," by Bill Moss, New Day Presentations, P.O. Box 11, Portland, MO. 65067
"Facsimile edition of the Original 1611 King James Bible," Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989
Helpful Bible Reference Works:
Books Helpful for Understanding Figures of Speech, Idiomatic Expressions, symbols
- "How to Enjoy the Bible: A Guide to Better Understanding and Enjoyment of God's Word" by E.W. Bullinger, reprinted by Kregal Publications, P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
- "Figures of Speech Used in the Bible" by E.W. Bullinger, reprinted by Baker Books, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516
- "Idioms in the Bible Explained" by George Lamsa, published by Harper Collins Publishers, 10 East 53rd St., NY, NY 10022
- "Gospel Light" by George M. Lamsa, published by Harper Collins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd. St., N.Y., N.Y., 10022, 1964
- "Hebrew Honey," By Al Novak, C & D International, 1987
- "Light Through an Eastern Window," by K.C. Pillai, 1963
- "New Testament Light" by George M. Lamsa, published by Harper Collins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd. St., N.Y., N.Y., 10022, 1968
- "Old Testament Light" by George M. Lamsa, published by Harper Rowe, 10 E. 53rd. St., N.Y., N.Y., 10022, 1964
- "The Syrian Christ," by Abraham Mitrie Rihbany, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1916
- "Strange Scriptures that Perplex the Western Mind," Barbara M. Bowen, Eerdman's Pub., reprinted 1984
- "Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus," David Bivin & Roy Blizzard, Jr. Destiny Image Pub., 19884
- "The Symbols and types" by Kevin Connor, 1992
- "The Tabernacle of Moses" by Kevin Connor, 1975
- "The Tabernacle of David" by Kevin Connor, 1976
- "The Temple of Solomon" by Kevin Connor, 1988
- "The Feasts of Israel" by Kevin Connor, 1980
- (All the above books by Kevin Connor are available from: Bible Temple Publishing, 9200 NE Freemont, Portland, OR. 97220)
- "The Tabernacle" by Henry W. Soltau, reprinted by Kregal Publications, P.O. Box 2607, Grand rapids, MI. 49501, 1972
- "The Temple, its Minstry and service" by Alfred Edersheim, reprinted by Eerdmans Pub., 1988
- "Types in Genesis," By Andrew Jukes, Longsman, Green, and Co., 1898
History (Church & Bible related)
- "Introduction to the History of Christianity," Fortress Press, 1995
- "History of the Christian Church," Phillip Schaff, Eerdmann Pub., reprinted 1991
- "The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church," J.D. Douglas, ed., Zondervan, 1978
- "Dictionary of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements," Zondervan, 1988
- "A Dictionary of Christian Biography," Hendrickson Pub., 1994
- "The Church Triumphant, A History of Christianity up to 1300," E. Glenn Hinson, Mercer University Press, 1994
- "The Christians," Bamber Gasciogne, William Morrow & Co., 1977
- "The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion," HarperCollins Pub., 1995
Manners and Customs of the Biblical Period
- "Manners and Customs of the Bible," by James M. Freeman, Logos Int., 1972
- "Jesus and His World, Rousseau and Arav, Fortress Press, 1995 (392 pages, paperback, black and white photos)
- "The Bible Alive," John D. Wansbrough, Zondervan (256 pages, excellent photograph)
- "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah," Alfred Edersheim, reprinted by Hendrickson Pub., Peabody, Mass. 01961
- "Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus," by Joachim Jeremias, Fortress Press, 1969
- "The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times" by Ralph Gower, Moody Bible Institute, 1987
- "Machines, Buildings, Weaponry, of Biblical Times," by Max Schwartz, Baker Books, 1990
- "Today's Handbook of Bible Times and Customs," by William L. Coleman, Bethany House, 1984
Greek and Hebrew Language Learning Aids (Computer)
(See these company's internet sites for latest editions.)
- "Basics of Biblical Greek, Grammar (includes interactive study aid CD)," William D. Mounce, Zondervan, 1993
- "Hebrew Tutor Interactive CD," Parson's Technology
- "Greek Tutor Interactive CD," Parson's Technology
Greek and Hebrew Language Learning Aids (Print)
- "Teach yourself New Testament Greek," Ian Macnair, Thomas Nelson Pub., 1995
- "Learn New Testament Greek," John H. Dobson, Baker Book House, 1989
- "Greek to Me," Cullen & J. Lyle Story, Harper & Rowe, 1979
- "Do It Yourself Hebrew & Greek," Edward W. Goodrick, Zondervan Pub. 1980
- "Learn to Read the Greek N.T.," Ward Powers, Eerdman's Pub., 1983
- "Classical Aramaic: Elementary Book 1," Dr. Rocco A. Errico, Noohra Foundation, 1991
Computer Bible Research Programs
- "Bibleworks" by Hermeneutika Software (probably the best for work in original Bible languages), for PC's
- "Logos," By Logos Software (Also an excellent original languages program), for PC's
- "Quickverse" by Parson's Technology (more for average Bible study), for PC's
- "PCStudy Bible" by BibleSoft (very good general Bible study program), for PC's
- "Wordsearch" by NavPress (fair general Bible study program), for PC's
- "Bible Companion," by Loizeaux Brothers (good general Bible study program), for PC's
- "Sage Digital Software" by Sage Software (hundreds of classical Christian works for very little money), for PC's
- "The Master Christian Library," Ages Software, for PC's, http://www.ageslibrary.com
- "Accordance" by The Gramcord Institute (excellent original languages program), for Macs.
- "Bible Source for Windows" Zondervan Pub. (basic Bible Study Tool)
Quality Biblical Videos
- "Jesus of Nazareth," Bridgestone Multimedia Group
- "Jesus" Gateway Films, (Catholic company, but good film)
- "A.D." 3 Video Series, Gateway Films, (Catholic company owns it but its good)
- "The Visual Bible--Acts," 4 videos, NIV, Monarch Home Videos
- "The Visual Bible--Matthew," 4 videos, NIV, Monarch Home Videos
- "Peter and Paul," 2 videos, Gateway Films (Very well done, Catholic company)
- "Abraham," movie by Turner Home Video (Excellent)
- "Joseph," movie by Turner Home Video (Excellent)
- "Jacob," movie by Turner Home Video (Excellent)
- "Moses," movie by Turner Home Video (Excellent)
Helpful Charts, Maps, and Timelines
- "Baker Encyclopedia of Bible Places," John J. Brimson, ed., Baker Book House, 1995 (319 oversized pages, color photos, nicely done)
- "Charts of the Western Church," Susan Lynn Peterson, Zondervan Pub. 1999 (383 pages, paperback, church history laid out in nice chart form, nice formant)
- "The Harper Atlas of the Bible," Harper & Rowe, 1987 (Excellent photos, maps, oversized book, new archaeological material included)
- "Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions," Broadman & Holman Pub., 1993
- "Chronology and Background Charts of Church History," Robert C. Walton, Zondervan Pub. 1986
- "Chronology and Background Charts of the Old Testament," John H. Walton, Zondervan Pub., 1978
- "Chronological and Background Charts of the N.T.," H. Wayne House, Zondervan Pub., 1981
One Volume Bible Dictionaries, Encyclopedias
- "The Biblical Times," Derek Williams, Baker Books, 1997 (416 oversized pages, color photos, a "You were there" newspaper style, well done!)
- "Zondervan Handbook to the Bible," Zondervan Pub., 1999 (815 pages, color photos)
- "Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary," Thomas Nelson Pub., 1995 (1346 pages, color photos)
- "Nelson's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Bible Facts," Thomas Nelson Pub., 1995 (774 pages, few colors photos)
- "Holman Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Publishers," 1991 (1450 pages, color photos)
- "HarperCollins's Bible Dictionary," HarpersSanFrancisco, 1996, (1256 pages, color photos)
- "Eerdman's Handbook to the Bible," Eerdman's Pub., reprint 1987, (677 pages, color photos)
- "The Eerdman's Bible Dictionary," Eerdman's Pub., reprint 1887 (1094 pages, black and white photos)
- "Encyclopedia of Early Christianity," Garland Publishing Co., 1990 (1983 pages, paperback, few black and while photos)
Books Comparing Bible Translations
- "The English Bible: From KJV to NIV," Jack P. Lewis, Baker Books, 1991, (An excellent comparison of major Bible translations)
- "So Many Versions?", Sakae Kubo & Walter Specht, Zondervan, 1975 (Excellent comparison of modern Bible translations.)
- "The King James Only Controversy," by James R. White, Bethany House Pub., 1995, (Good look into the King James Only debate)
- "Words About the Word," by John R. Kohlenberger III, Zondervan Pub., 1987
Serious Reference Stuff
The following is part of an article written by James F. Stitzinger entitled "STUDY TOOLS FOR EXPOSITORY PREACHING." I deleted some works and added some others. A lot of this material is very heavy reading and some of the works have serious errors in them. But if I threw out all the Bibles I use which have major errors in them, I wouldn't be left with much to read. Many Christian "scholars" are NOT born from above and most of them are not "baptized in the Holy Spirit." This goes for our Bible translations as well as Bible reference works. God uses all kinds of people to bring us to the knowledge of the truth, but if we don't learn to spit out the bones when we chew, we will most likely choke.
- Badke, William B. Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog. Zondervan.
- *Barber, Cyril J. The Minister's Library. Moody, 1985- . 2 vols. plus supplements.
- *Barker, Kenneth L., Bruce K. Waltke, Roy B. Zuck. Bibliography for Old Testament Exegesis and Exposition. Dallas Theological Seminary, 1979.
- Bollier, John A. The Literature of Theology: A Guide for Students and Pastors. Westminster, 1979.
- *Carson, D. A. New Testament Commentary Survey. Baker, 1986.
- Childs, Brevard S. Old Testament Books for Pastor and Teacher. Westminster, 1977.
- Kiehl, Erich H. Building Your Biblical Studies Library. Concordia, 1988.
- Martin, Ralph P. New Testament Books for Pastor and Teacher. Westminster, 1984.
- *Rosscup, James E. Commentaries for Biblical Expositors. Author, 1983.
- *Wiersbe, Warren W. A Basic Library for Bible Students. Baker, 1981.
- American Standard Version. Nelson, 1901.
- The Amplified Bible. Zondervan, 1965.
- Companion Bible, KJV, Kregal Publications, reprinted 1990
- Concordant Literal New Testament Concordant Publishing Concern, 1985
- The Holy Bible: A New Translation (James Moffatt), Richard R. Smith, Inc., 1926
- Holy Bible From Ancient Eastern Manuscripts A.J. Holman Company, 1957
- *King James Version (or Authorized Version). Various publishers.
- The Living Bible, Paraphrased. Tyndale, 1971.
- The Message (New Testament & Psalms, Eugene H. Peterson), Navpress, 1993
- *New American Standard Bible. Lockman, 1977.
- New Century Version, Word Pub., 1996
- New English Bible. Oxford/Cambridge, 1970.
- *New International Version. Zondervan, 1978.
- New King James Version. Nelson, 1982.
- The New Testament (William Barclay), Collins, 1969.
- The New Testament in Modern English. Macmillian, 1973.
- The New Testament (Charles B. Williams), Moody Press, 1950.
- The NIV Study Bible. Zondervan, 1985.
- *Ryrie Study Bible. Moody, 1978.
- Rotherham Emphasized Bible: A Literal Translation, Kregal Publications.
- Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, Baker Books, 1898, reprinted 1995
- The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order, NIV, Harvest House Pub., 1984
- The Reese Chronological Bible, KJV, Bethany House Pub., 1977
- New Contemporary Parallel N.T., Oxford, (8 Translations)
- Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English (KJV & NIV), Zondervan, 1975
- The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament, Zondervan 1987
- New Greek-English Interlinear N.T. UBS Greek/NRSV, Tyndale Pub., 1990
- Greek New Testament UBS4 with NRSV & NIV, Zondervan Pub.1993
- The Interlinear NASB-NIV Parallel N.T in Greek and English, Zondervan, 1993
- Nestle-Aland Greek-English N.T.by Kurt & Barbara Aland, UBS, 1990
- The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English, by Samuel Brenton, reprinted by Zondervan
- Eight Translation New Testament, Tyndale, 1974
- KJV-NKJV Parallel Reference Bible, Nelson, 1991
- The New Testament in Four Versions, Christianity Today, 1965 (KJV, RS, Phillips, NEB)
- The Four Translation N.T., World Wide Pub., 1966 (KJV, NASB, Williams, Beck)
- The Word: The Bible From 26 Translations, Mathis Pub. (reprint published by other publishers like Baker Books. The title is misleading. It is the KJV and notes where the other 25 versions differ with the KJV. AND it often does not show where other translations differ with the KJV on major doctrinal issues like "everlasting punishment."
Miscellaneous Kinds of Bibles, Testaments, and Gospels
- Facsimile edition of the original 1611 King James Version, Thomas Nelson Pub., 1989
- The Jewish Bible Tanakh, (O.T.) Jewish Publication Society, 1985
- The Old English Version of the Gospels,Oxford University Press, 1994
- The New Testament of the Matthew's Bible 1537,John Wesley Sawyer, 1989
Where to Find in the Bible
- "Where to Find it in the Bible," Ken Anderson, Thomas Nelson Pub., 1997
- "Willmington's Book of Bible Lists," H.L. Willmington, Tyndale House Pub., 1987
- "Nave's Topical Bible," published by several Christian publishers
- "The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge," Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992
*Aland, Kurt. The
Greek New Testament. 3rd ed.; UBS, 1983.
________. The Text of the New Testament. Eerdmans, 1987.
*Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Ed. by Ellinger and Rudolph; Deutsche Biblestiftung, 1984.
*Bruce, F. F. The Books and the Parchments. Revell, 1984.
*________. The Canon of the Scripture. InterVarsity, 1988.
________. History of the English Bible in English. 3rd ed.; Revell, 1978.
Greenlee, J. Harold. Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism. Eerdmans, 1964.
*Harris, R. Laird. Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible. Zondervan, 1969.
Lewis, Jack P. The English Bible From KJV to NIV, A History of Evaluation. Baker, 1982.
Metzger, Bruce M. The Canon of the New Testament. Oxford, 1987.
________. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. Oxford, 1968.
*________. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. UBS, 1971.
*Nestle-Aland. Novum Testamentum Graece. 26th ed.; Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1979.
*Rahlfs, Alfred. Septuaginta. Wuerttembergische, 1962.
Roberts, B. J. The Old Testament Text and Versions. Wales, 1951
. Swete, Henry B. An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek. KTAV, 1968.
Wurthwein, Ernst. The Text of the Old Testament. Eerdmans, 1979.
Old Testament Tools
*Armstrong, Terry A.,
Douglas L. Busby, and Cyril F. Carr. A Reader's Hebrew and English Lexicon
of the Old Testament. Zondervan, 1989.
Botterweck, G. Johannes, and Helmer Ringgren, eds. Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Eerdmans, 1974- . Vols. 1- .
*Brown, Francis, Samuel R. Driver, and Charles A Briggs. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Oxford, 1907.
Einspahr, Bruce. Index to Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon. Moody, 1977.
*The Englishmen's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament. Zondervan, 1970.
*Even-Shoshan, Abraham. A New Concordance of the Old Testament. Baker, 1989.
Girdlestone, Robert Baker. Synonyms of The Old Testament. Eerdmans. 1948
*Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, eds. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody, 1980. 2 vols.
Hatch, Edwin, and Henry A Redpath. A Concordance to the Septuagint and the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament.
Akademische, 1955. 2 vols. *Holliday, William. A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Eerdmans, 1971.
Koehler, Ludwig, and Walter Baumgartner,. Lexicon in Verteris Testament Libros. Brill, 1958. 2 vols.
Liddell, Henry G., and Robert Scott. A Greek English Lexicon. 9th. ed., rev. by. H. S. Jones and R. McKenzie; Oxford, 1968.
*Owens, John Joseph. Analytical Key to the Old Testament. Baker, 1989- . 4 vols.
Seow, C. L. A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew. Abingdon, 1987.
Waltke, Bruce. An Intermediate Hebrew Grammar. Eisenbrauns, 1984.
Waltke, Bruce K., and M. O'Connor. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. Eisenbrauns, 1990.
*Weingreen, Jacob. Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew. Oxford, 1959.
Wilson, William. New Old Testament Word Studies. Kregel, 1987.
Unger, Merrill F., and William White. Nelson's Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament. Nelson, 1980.
New Testament Tools
A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament. T. & T. Clark,
Alsop, John R., ed. An Index to the Revised Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon. 2nd ed. by Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker; Zondervan, 1981.
Balz, Horst, and Gerhard Schneider, eds. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans, 1978.
Barclay, William. New Testament Words. Westminster, 1974.
*Bauer, Walter, W. F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and F.W. Danker. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. University of Chicago, 1979.
Blass, F. W., A. Debrunner, and Robert W. Funk. A Grammar of New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. University of Chicago, 1961.
Bromiley, Geoffrey. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Ed. by Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, trans. by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, abridged in 1 vol. Eerdmans, 1985.
*Brown, Colin, ed. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Zondervan, 1975-86. 4 vols.
Burton, Ernest DeWitt. Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek. T. & T. Clark, 1898.
Cremer, Hermann. Biblico-Theological Lexicon of New Testament Greek. 4th ed. T. & T. Clark, 1962.
Dana, H. E., and Julius R. Mantey. A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. Macmillan, 1955.
Gingrich, F. W. A Shorter Lexicon of the Greek Testament. 2nd ed., rev. by Frederick W. Danker. University of Chicago, 1983.
Hanna, Robert. A Grammatical Aid to the Greek New Testament. Baker, 1983.
Kittel, Gerhard, and Gerhard Friedrich. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Trans. by Geoffrey Bromiley. Eerdmans, 1964-76. 10 vols.
Liddell, H. G., and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon. 8th ed.; Clarendon, 1897.
*Machen, J. Gresham. New Testament Greek for Beginners. Macmillan, 1923.
Moule, C. F. D. An Idiom Book of the New Testament Greek. Cambridge, 1963.
Moulton, James Hope. A Grammar of New Testament Greek. T. & T. Clark, 1908- . 4 vols.
________ and George Milligan. The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and Other Non-Literary Sources. Hodder and Stoughton, 1952.
Moulton, William, and A. S. Geden. A Concordance to the Greek Testament. 5th ed., rev. by H. K. Moulton; T. & T. Clark, 1978. Richards, Lawrence O. Expository Dictionary of Bible Words. Zondervan, 1985.
*Rienecker, Fritz. A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament. Zondervan, 1980.
Robertson, A. T. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research. Broadman, 1923.
Smith, J. B. Greek-English Concordance to the New Testament. Herald, 1955.
*Thayer, Joseph H. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Zondervan, 1962.
Trench, Richard Chenevix. Synonyms of the New Testament. Eerdmans, 1953.
Turner, Nigel. Christian Words. Nelson, 1981.
________. Grammatical Insights into the New Testament. T. & T. Clark, 1977.
*Vine, W. E., Merrill F. Unger, and William White. An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. Nelsons, 1984.
*Wingram, George V. The Englishman's Greek Concordance of the New Testament. 9th ed.; Zondervan, 1970.
Vincent, Marvin, Vincent's
Word Studies of the New Testament, reprinted by Hendrickson Pub.
Zerwick, Max, and Mary Grosvener. A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament. Biblical Institute, 1981.
Hermeneutics and Exegesis
Ferguson, Duncan S.
Biblical Hermeneutics, an Introduction. John Knox, 1986.
Kaiser, Walter C., Jr. Toward an Exegetical Theology. Baker, 1981.
Mickelsen, A. Berkeley. Interpreting the Bible. Eerdmans, 1963.
*Ramm, Bernard. Protestant Biblical Interpretation. Baker, 1970.
Sproul, R. C. Knowing Scripture. InterVarsity, 1977.
*Tan, Paul Lee. The Interpretation of Prophecy. BMH, 1974.
*Terry, Milton S. Biblical Hermeneutics. Zondervan, 1974.
*Thomas, Robert L. Introduction to Exegesis. Author, 1987.
Traina, Robert A. Methodical Bible Study. Author, 1952.
Virkler, Henry A. Hermeneutics, Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation. Baker, 1981
General Reference Works
W., ed. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Eerdmans,
1979-88. 4 vols.
Buttrick, George A., and K. Crims, eds. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. Abingdon, 1962-76. 5 vols.
Douglas, J. D., ed. The New Bible Dictionary. 2nd ed. Tyndale, 1982.
________ and E. E. Cairns, eds. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church. Zondervan, 1978.
________, ed. New 20th-Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Baker, 1990.
Elwell, Walter A., ed. Encyclopedia of the Bible. Baker, 1988. 2 vols.
*________, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Baker, 1984.
Ferguson, Sinclair B., David F. Wright, and J. I. Paker. New Dictionary of Theology. InterVarsity, 1988.
Harrison, R. K. Encyclopedia of Biblical and Christian Ethics. Nelsons, 1987.
Hastings, James, ed. Dictionary of the Apostolic Church. T. & T. Clark, 1915. 2 vols.
________. Dictionary of the Bible. T. & T. Clark, 1898. 5 vols.
________. Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels. T. & T. Clark, 1906. 2 vols.
McClintock, John, and James Strong, eds. Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Baker, 1981. 12 vols.
*Orr, James, ed. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Eerdmans, 1939. 5 vols.
Reid, Daniel G. Dictionary of Christianity in America. InterVarsity, 1990.
*Tenney, Merrill C., ed. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. 1975. 5 vols.
*Unger, Merrill F. The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Rev. and updated edition ed. by R. K. Harrison. Moody, 1988.
Anderson, Ken. The
Contemporary Concordance of Bible Topics. Victor, 1984.
Elder, F., ed. Concordance to the New English Bible: New Testament. Zondervan, 1964.
Goodrick, Edward, and John Kohlenberger III. The NIV Complete Concordance. Zondervan, 1981.
________. The NIV Exhaustive Concordance. Zondervan, 1990.
Hill, Andrew E., comp. Baker's Handbook of Bible Lists. Baker, 1981.
and Swanson, The Greek English Concordance to the N.T.(NIV), Zondervan,
*Monser, Harold E. Topical Index and Digest of the Bible. Baker, 1983.
*Nave, Orville J., ed. Nave's Topical Bible. Nelson, 1979.
The Phrase Concordance of the Bible. Nelson, 1986.
Smith, J.B., Greek-English
Concordance to the N.T., Mennonite Pub. House, 1955
*Strong, James. Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Abingdon, 1980.
*Thomas, Robert L., ed. New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Holman, 1981.
*Torrey, R. A. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Bagster, n.d.
*_______. The New Topical Textbook. Revell, n.d.
*Young, Robert., ed. Analytial Concordance to the Bible. Rev. ed. Nelson, 1980.
Wigram and Winter, The Word Study Concordance, Tyndale House Pub.
Works on Archaeology, Geography, and History
Aharoni, Yohanan. The
Land of the Bible: A Historical Geography of the Bible. Westminster,
*________. The Macmillan Bible Atlas. Macmillian, 1977.
Baly, Denis. The Geography of the Bible. New and rev. ed. Harper, 1974.
Barrett, C. K. The New Testament Background: Selected Documents. S.P.C.K., 1958.
Beitzel, Barry J. The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands. Moody, 1985.
Blaiklock, E. M., and R. K. Harrison eds. The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology. Zondervan, 1983.
Bouquet, A. C. Everyday Life in New Testament Times. Scribner, 1953.
Bruce, F .F. Israel and the Nations. Eerdmans, 1963.
*________. New Testament History. Doubleday, 1971.
*Edersheim, Alfred. Bible History. Eerdmans, 1954. 2 vols.
*________. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Eerdmans, 1954. 2 vols.
*Gower, Ralph. The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times. Moody, 1987.
Harrison, Roland K., ed. Major Cities of the Biblical World. Nelson, 1985.
*________. Old Testament Times. Eerdmans, 1990.
Heaton, E. W. Everyday Life in Old Testament Times. Scribner's, 1956.
Jeremias, Joachim. Jerusalem in the Times of Jesus. Fortress, 1969.
Josephus, Flavius. Complete Works. Kregel, 1960.
Lohse, Eduard. The New Testament Environment. Abingdon, 1976.
Merrill, Eugene H. Kingdom of Priests. Baker, 1987.
Metzger, Bruce Manning. The New Testament, Its Background, Growth, and Content. Abingdon, 1965.
Miller, Madeleine S., and J. Lane, rev. by Boyce M. Bennett and David Scott. Harper's Encyclopedia of Bible Life. Harper, 1978.
*Pfeiffer, Charles F. The Biblical World. Baker, 1966.
*________. Old Testament History. Baker, 1973.
*________ and Howard F. Vos. The Wycliffe Historical Geography of Bible Lands. Moody, 1967.
Reicke, Bo. The New Testament Era. Fortress, 1968.
Schultz, Samuel J. The Old Testament Speaks. 3rd. ed.; Harper, 1980.
*Tenney, Merrill C. New Testament Times. Eerdmans, 1965.
Thompson, J. A. The Bible and Archaeology. Eerdmans, 1972.
*________. Handbook of Life in Bible Times. InterVarsity, 1986.
Vos, Howard F. Archaeology in Biblical Lands. Moody, 1987.
Wood, Leon. Israel's United Monarchy. Baker, 1979.
________. The Prophets of Israel. Baker, 1979.
*________. A Survey of Israel's History. Rev. by David O'Brien. Zondervan, 1986.
________. Israel's United Monarchy. Baker, 1979.
Yamauchi, Edwin M. Pre-Christian Gnosticism. 2nd ed. Baker, 1983.
Survey and Introduction
and Pat Alexander. Eerdman's Handbook to the Bible. Eerdmans, 1973.
Andrews, Samuel J. The Life of Our Lord Upon the Earth. Zondervan, 1954.
*Archer, Gleason L. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Rev. ed.; Moody, 1974.
*Bruce, A. B. The Training of the Twelve. Zondervan, 1963.
Bruce, F. F. The Letters of Paul and Expanded Paraphrase. Eerdmans, 1965.
________. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Eerdmans, 1977.
Bullock, C. Hassell. An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books. Moody, 1988.
Conybeare, W. J., and Howsen, J. S. The Life and Epistles of Saint Paul. Eerdmans, 1954.
Craigie, Peter C. The Old Testament, Its Background, Growth, and Content. Abingdon, 1986.
*Culver, Robert D. The Life of Christ. Baker, 1976.
Farrar, Frederic W. The Life of Christ. Cassell, 1874. 2 vols.
________. The Life and Work of St. Paul. Cassell, 1879. 2 vols.
Foakes Jackson, F. J., and Kirsopp Lake. The Beginnings of Christianity. Macmillian, 1920. 5 vols.
*Freeman, Hobart E. An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophets. Moody, 1968.
*Gundry, Robert H. A Survey of the New Testament. Zondervan, 1981.
Guthrie, Donald. The Apostles. Zondervan, 1975.
________. Jesus the Messiah. Zondervan, 1972.
*________. New Testament Introduction. Rev. ed.; InterVarsity, 1990.
*Gromacki, Robert. New Testament Survey. Baker, 1974.
*Harrison, Everett F. Introduction to the New Testament. Eerdmans, 1964.
Harrison, Roland K. Introduction to the Old Testament. Eerdmans, 1969.
*Hiebert, D. Edmond. An Introduction to the New Testament. Moody, 1975-77. 3 vols.
Kaiser, Walter C. Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation. Baker, 1972.
Kidner, Derek. An Introduction to Wisdom Literature, The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. InterVarsity, 1985.
*Lasor, William Sanford, David Hubbard, and Frederic Bush. Old Testament Survey. Eerdmans, 1982.
Morgan, G. Campell. The Crises of the Christ. Revell, n.d.
________. The Parables and Metaphors of Our Lord. Revell, n.d.
________. The Teaching of Christ. Revell, n.d.
Pentecost, J. Dwight. The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. Zondervan, 1981.
Ramsay, William. The Church in the Roman Empire. Baker, 1954.
________. The Cities of Saint Paul. Baker, 1960.
________. Saint Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen. Baker, 1949.
Robertson, A. T. A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ. Harper, 1950.
Schultz, Samuel J. The Old Testament Speaks. Harper, 1970.
Scroggie, William Graham. A Guide to the Gospels. Revell, 1948.
*________. Know Your Bible. Pickering, 1940.
________. The Unfolding Drama of Redemption. Zondervan, 1970.
Shepard, J. W. The Life and Letter of Saint Paul. Eerdmans, 1950.
*Tenney, Merrill C., rev. by Walter M. Dunnett. New Testament Survey. Eerdmans, 1985.
*Thomas, Robert L., and Stanley N. Gundry. A Harmony of the Gospels with Explanations and Essays. Harper, 1978.
________. The NIV Harmony of the Gospels. Harper, 1988.
Trench, R. C. Notes on the Parables. Pickering, 1953.
Unger, Merrill F. Introductory Guide to the Old Testament. Zondervan, 1951.
*________. Unger's Guide to the Bible. Tyndale, 1974.
Young, Edward J. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Eerdmans, 1960.